A Brief History of Kwanzaa

A Brief History of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a seven day African-American celebration of culture and tradition. It is a cultural, not religious, celebration that begins December 26th of each year. In 1966, Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga created the African-American celebration of Kwanzaa. Dr. Karenga, a political and cultural scientist, is also the founder of the Black Nationalist Organization. Dr. Karenga was concerned that all African-Americans were facing a cultural crisis. He felt that any significant movements must have a strong cultural base to give them direction and identity. Dr. Karenga felt that there was no clear system of values and views that would give African-Americans both a moral and meaningful interpretation of their lives and culture. Kwanzaa was created to fill this void and create the basis for a strong, unified African-American movement. Kwanzaa is based upon traditional African harvest celebrations. While KWANZAA means first fruits in Swahili, Dr. Karenga added an extra A to the end of the word to indicate the newly created African-American Kwanzaa. It is important to note that Kwanzaa is not an African celebration, but an African-American celebration. It incorporates elements of both African and African-American life. The Nguzo Saba, or Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, are the new social principles Dr. Karenga created to help African-Americans rebuild their history and culture. Each of the Seven Principles requires the participants to examine their own actions and place in the community of African-Americans.
 
 
 
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